Illinois farmers face uncertainty in Washington

President Donald Trump’s pick to be secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture will have an impact on crops insurance in the Land of Lincoln — it’s just unclear how.

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue was tapped by Trump to be the ag secretary last month.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said it’s important he get confirmed as soon as possible.

“In central Illinois, these are some of the downtimes in agriculture,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of farmers taking a lot of risk every time they plant a seed.”

University of Illinois Farm Management Professor Gary Schnitkey said while the USDA doesn’t play a direct role in crafting a new farm bill, the rules they implement could impact the level of crop insurance.

“What sorts of products are emphasized in the future will be impacted by the USDA and the administration,” he said.

Schnitkey said while some may be awaiting the approval of President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary in the U.S. Senate, trade is still the primary concern among farmers in the Land of Lincoln.

According to Schnitkey, “45 percent of the soybeans produced in the U.S. are exported, so anything that impacts trade and impacts it negatively will have a negative impact on agriculture.”

Davis also said trade is important.

“If we’re going to actually expand our marketplace and be able to continue to feed the world, we need to develop better relationships, better bilateral agreements and also better enforcement provisions,” he said. “And I think that’s what the president has been talking about.”

Both the ag secretary and U.S. Department of Commerce secretary nominees have yet to be approved by the U.S. Senate.

–Illinois News Network

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